“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity” Micah 5:2 NASB).
Living in a state of peace is a common goal for mankind. Whether it be at the global level, the government level, in our own homes, or even in our minds, peace is something we all desire. And during the Christmas season, peace—especially “peace on earth”—seems to be one of the most prevalent themes in windows, on mantles, and in carols. It may do us well to consider why.
The pursuit of peace is nothing new; it has been sought after as far back as history can record. It may seem as if we are no closer today than we were thousands of years ago. For this reason, God spoke through the prophet Micah about an event that would take place in the humblest of locations and in the lowliest of circumstances.
The great king, the Messiah, the one who would lead God’s people and establish His kingdom, would not be born in pomp and glamour to a powerful family in a great city. Jesus would be born to a carpenter and his young wife, in a stable, in the small town of Bethlehem. Peace would take on flesh in the most unexpected of ways.
Common shepherds in the fields would be the ones to whom God would proclaim the reality of this spectacular event. “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased’” (Luke 2:9-14 NASB, emphasis mine).
All of mankind’s attempts and ideologies to bring peace would fail them because true peace could only be acquired by the grace of God. And so, by His grace, He sent His only begotten Son to make peace attainable to the world. In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). Through His death and resurrection, Jesus sealed the promise that God’s kingdom would one day be established and peace would reign; but Jesus’ words tell us that His promise has implications for us even today.
Today, in the presence of conflict, we can find peace. Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is confidence in the midst of it. And that confidence can only be found through our faith in Jesus Christ. Every day we face conflicts in our world; from those within our own minds to those in the form of social evil.
But these conflicts do not have to have the power to rob us of peace. For the Christian they should be an opportunity to share peace with others. Just as Christ became peace for us, so we should try to be peace for others. That is the gift of Christmas; confidence amidst conflict because He truly has overcome the world!
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!